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Battling harsh conditions men's lightweight rowing came up just short in their quest for the Wood-Hammond Trophy.

Credit: Chase Sutton

This Saturday, Penn men’s lightweight and heavyweight rowing were all business, while the women's races were washed out.

The lightweights competed at home on the Schuylkill River for the second time in two weeks, facing off against Georgetown and Ivy League rival Princeton. The heavies also rowed on the familiar Schuylkill waters at home against Columbia and Yale.

The heavies faced fierce competition and rough waters in their battle for the Blackwell Cup. They raced in 11-15 mile per hour winds and choppy waters. Yale was ranked No. 1 in the country and was the favorite to take home the hardware going into the race. 

The lightweights rowed for the Wood-Hammond Trophy in its final regatta of the season. Penn hasn’t won the Wood-Hammond Trophy for the past 14 years, so the team was more than ready to break the streak on Saturday.

“Our challenge is obviously to try to find a way to win the close race," lightweight coach Colin Farrell said. “We certainly went into this weekend with the thought that this was going to be a tight battle, and it proved to be so.”

The morning started off well for the heavies with an 18-second win over Columbia in the Varsity 4 race. This performance was followed by a third-place finish in the second Varsity 8 race, three seconds behind Columbia in second. In the first Varsity 8 race, Penn was able to scrape by Columbia by four-tenths of a second to snatch second place from the Lions.

The lightweights, also facing tough competition and harsh waters, came up short in the fight for the Wood-Hammond Trophy. Their morning started off well, placing first in the fourth Varsity 8 race by 17 seconds over Princeton. However, the Tigers would regain momentum taking the second and third Varsity 8 races over the Quakers by 5.3 and 12.4 seconds, respectively. 

The first Varsity 8 race was tight. Georgetown, which had finished at least nine seconds behind Penn in each previous race, performed well and ended up taking second place. Penn followed Georgetown by 0.4 seconds and Princeton by 2.7 seconds for third place overall.

“It’s a little bit been the story of this year. It’s that almost every single weekend it seems like the results have been really close,” Farrell said. “I just think that’s a little bit of a measure of the strength of our league and the competitiveness that we see."

Penn women's rowing was scheduled to row in the Clemson Invitational down in South Carolina this weekend, but torrential weather forced the organizers to cancel the event. The Quakers and the 20 other teams were thus unable to register any competitive results on their road trip. The one race that was completed was ruled out because of unfair conditions: The high winds and rain of the previous few days left tree branches and debris in the river in addition to high currents. 

Both the lightweight and heavyweight squads will take on Navy next week in Annapolis, Md. for the Callow Cup, while the women are off until the Ivy League Championships on May 19 in Cherry Hill, N.J.